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2nd Place Poetry Winner: The College Girl Apartment, In Celebration of the Jagged - Riese Munoz

We keep the wine bottles we’ve drunk,

peel off the labels, wash away whatever residue is left over

and fill them with dried flowers,

flecks of dust clinging to the spots we hadn’t washed with particular care.

And in the bathroom, we cut each other’s hair

with scissors that we also use to open bags of cereal and get tags off new clothes,

we catch each other in the hallway, say

“here’s a spot” and trim away any jagged edges that escaped the main chop.

Jagged edges follow us. We are all elbows and knees,

and sometimes we run into the hard points of another. We bruise,

we drop plates that were gifts from our mothers,

leave candles burning too long, forgetting that we have flames to smother.

And we recycle, hold on to things to fill them up again

and sometimes instead of growing up, we have the urge to grow in—

we are sticky and full of dried flowers,

and even as flakes of petal come loose from our stalks, lodge themselves

in the grooves of the rug, and with footsteps are crushed to dust,

bits of us will be lingering, haunting, softly humming:

We are still here, in spite of.


Riese Munoz is an English education and Creative Writing BFA at the University of Montana. She was the '21 poetry editor for the undergraduate publication The Oval, and her work appears in the Oval's 2021 staff edition. Other than writing and reading, Riese enjoys rock climbing, yoga, and taking in the beautiful Montana scenery.

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